A stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Taipei 101 and the surrounding Xinyi area is Xiangshan Park, best known as home to Elephant Mountain. Known as Xiangshan (象山) in Chinese, Elephant Mountain is one of Taipei’s most frequented tourist destinations, incredibly popular with locals and foreign visitors alike. The hike to the top of the mountain trail, although steep, is a short one; perhaps taking 15-minutes maximum. Entirely stepped, on your way to the top of the approximately 1.5km peak you’ll encounter people of all ages and nationalities keen to reach arguably the best spot in the city for taking in the Taipei skyline. While the mountain and the hike are the area’s main attractions, there are a few more things you can do around Xiangshan than you may think. Head out of Exit 2 of Xiangshan Station on the MRT Red Line and you’re on your way. (Read more: A Perfect Day in Taipei’s Xinyi District)
Disclaimer: there are no actual elephants at Elephant Mountain. Sorry…
Taipei Tree Frog Reserve
While we didn’t actually see any when we were there, we are reliably informed that this is the only location in the city to spot the protected species, the Taipei tree frog (Rhacophorus taipeianus). You’ll find various informational exhibits in the area explaining more about the tree frogs and their habitat but just a heads up that they’re written in Chinese.
Public Areas in the park
Especially kid-friendly with dedicated play areas, Xiangshan Park is still worth visiting for people not interested in a mountain hike. With paths to walk down, benches for sitting and multiple basketball courts for those interested in shooting hoops, an afternoon in the park is a pleasant experience, only heightened by the aesthetically pleasing variety of plant life on display.
A small, quaint park at the foot of the Elephant Mountain trail with areas for sitting. Take the weight off your feet before you tackle the mountain either in the park or at one of the nearby eateries.
Daitiandian Lingyun Temple (代天殿靈雲宮)
After walking up the hill near Sanli Park, have a quick browse around this traditional temple before you tackle the mountain proper.
The main reason everyone comes to this area, the viewing platforms up Elephant Mountain offer wonderful views of Taipei 101 and the city’s skyline. However, be prepared to wait a little while to take your pictures as the hotspots will more often than not be packed with both tourists and locals trying to snap that perfect shot for Instagram. (Read more: Take a hike: the best hiking trails in Taiwan)
Want to visit Elephant Mountain? Take a tour with us.